Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

The Sins of Hobby Lobby

September 29, 2021

The Sins of Hobby Lobby

The 5,000 year old Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, an ancient clay artifact looted from Iraq and owned by Steve Green, the evangelical entrepreneur who heads Hobby Lobby craft stores and the so-called Museum of the Bible, has been returned to the Baghdad museum it was stolen from.

Uber-evangelical Mr. Green runs a $5 billion, 932-store retail chain which claims to be “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” He was caught buying 11,500 looted artifacts (“Thou Shalt Not Steal”), and smuggling them into the country with forged invoices (“Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness”) because he really, really wanted them for his Museum of the Bible (“Thou Shalt Not Covet”). Money paid for many of Iraq’s looted antiquities was used to fund terrorism (“Thou Shalt Not Kill”).

Hobby Lobby closes on Sundays, so that sabbath-observing thing is covered, anyway.

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Suicide Gunman Kills Nine Americans

May 27, 2021

Suicide Gunman Kills Nine Americans

A gunman fatally shot nine co-workers in San Jose California on Wednesday before killing himself. According to police, the American firearms enthusiast had two semi-automatic handguns and 11 full magazines of ammunition. The American citizens he shot to death are: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.

So far this year, the United States has experienced 15 mass murders (four or more people killed in each instance) and 232 mass shootings (four or more people injured or killed), and it’s not even Memorial Day.

More:

“Ten dead, including gunman, in San Jose rail yard mass shooting; victims identified,” Hayley Smith, Richard Winton, Maura Dolan, and Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” The Onion

Updates:

“Heroic San Jose Victim ‘Ran Around Building’ Warning Colleagues to Hide From Shooter,” Jamie Ross, Daily Beast

“Molotov cocktails, guns and 25,000 rounds of ammo found in VTA shooter’s home: sheriff,” KTVU-TV News

“San Jose gunman had cans of gasoline, 22K rounds of ammo at home, officials say: What we know,” Christine Fernando, Christal Hayes, and Grace Hauck, USA Today

“San Jose mourns after deadliest shooting in region’s history: ‘We can’t sweep this under the rug,’” Abené Clayton, The Guardian

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Image (“Blood Sacrifice”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Felony Failure to Return VHS Rental Tape

April 28, 2021

Felony Failure to Return VHS Rental Tape

“It was an honest mistake from a bygone era, but neglecting to return a Sabrina the Teenage Witch VHS tape rented 22 years ago earned an Oklahoma woman a criminal record for felony embezzlement.

Caron McBride, 52, discovered the charges earlier this month after she got married and applied for a driver’s license under her new last name in Texas.

She was told to call the Cleveland county district attorney’s office in Oklahoma, which told her there was a warrant for her arrest for failing to return the video of the children’s show that records indicate she rented in 1999.

‘I have never watched that show in my entire life, just not my cup of tea,’ McBride told Fox25. ‘Meanwhile, I’m a wanted felon for a VHS tape.’”

— “Unreturned Sabrina the Teenage Witch VHS leads to US woman’s arrest warrant,” Richard Luscombe, The Guardian

More: 

“Overdue VHS Tape From 1999 Leads to Warrant for Embezzlement,” Neil Vigdor, New York Times

“She never returned a VHS copy of ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch,’ DA’s office said. 20 years later, she faced a felony.” Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post

“Overdue Sabrina the Teenage Witch VHS Rental Leads to Felony Charge 21 Years Later,” Brian Cronin, CBR

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Image by Mike Licht (who knows the shop in question wasn’t a Blockbuster). Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Dr. Trump’s Last Prescription: Pardon Florida Healthcare Fraudsters

January 22, 2021

Dr. Trump's Last Prescriptions: Pardon Florida Healthcare Fraudsters

On January 20th, before fleeing to Palm Beach (where his neighbors don’t want him) lame duck grifter Donald Trump granted clemency to fellow Floridians convicted of engaging in the Sunshine State’s flourishing industry, Medicare and Medicaid fraud:

Philip Esformes, a nursing home system operator convicted of a $1.3 Billion Medicare fraud, largest in the the nation’s history, won comutation of his 20-year prison sentence.

South Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen was serving a 17-year sentence for a $73 million Medicare fraud conviction, was pardoned by Mr. Trump, a Florida neighbor.

Also pardoned: Todd Farha, Thaddeus Bereday, William Kale, Paul Behrens, and Peter Clay, former executives of Florida’s WellCare Health Plans, were convicted of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of over $35 million.

This should make him welcome in his new retirement home, a state represented by a Republican senator once involved in a $1.7 billion Medicare fraud.

More:

“The doctors Trump pardoned for defrauding the government,” Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo Finance

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Michigan to Charge Ex-Gov. Rick Snyder in Water Probe

January 13, 2021

The Flint water system was privatized by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Then people started getting sick.

“Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, The Associated Press has learned.”

— “Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe,” Ed White, David Eggert, and Tammy Webber, Associated Press

More:

“Everything we know about charges Rick Snyder, others face in Flint water scandal,” Joe Guillen and Christine MacDonald, Detroit Free Press

Updates:

“Flint water crisis: Michigan charges ex-governor Rick Snyder,”  BBC News

“Ex-Governor of Michigan Charged With Neglect in Flint Water Crisis,” Julie Bosman, New York Times

“2 ex-health officials charged with manslaughter in Flint,” David Eggert, Ed White, and Corey Williams, Associated Press

“The Unfinished Business of Flint’s Water Crisis,’ Anna Clark, ProPublica

Related:

“Judge gives preliminary OK to $641 million Flint water crisis settlement,” Ron Fonger, MLive

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Trump Insurrection Selfies: Sedition Self-Incrimination

January 11, 2021

Trump Insurrection Selfies: Sedition Self-Incrimination

The seditious MAGA insurgents who broke into the U.S. Capitol at the bidding of Donald Trump and killed a police officer are being sought by law enforcement. Photos of the red-hatted terrorists have been posted by the FBI and DC Metropolitan Police, and the public is being asked to identify them. The FBI has even posted wanted photos at bus shelters in the DC metro area.

While a few brave press photographers provided some serious documentation of the domestic terrorists, many more pix were taken and posted by the Trump supporters themselves, bragging on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, DLive, and other social media platforms about their illegal occupation of the Capitol in answer to the president’s call.

The FBI and DC police aren’t the only ones preserving and scrutinizing the Capitol mob social selfies. Activists around the world, digital sleuths, have archived the MAGA-brag trophy pix before they could be taken down, and have been scrutinizing them since last Wednesday. One of the bigger finds so far was retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock, Jr., identified by John Scott-Railton at The Citizen Lab and outed by The New Yorker

Insurrectionists have scattered, but arrests on Federal and District charges are mounting. Before Instagramming the boys back home, those White Supremicist Christian warriors should have recalled Proverbs 16:18, “‘Hold my beer’ goeth before a fall,” and suchlike.

More:

“Thanks For the Evidence, You Seditious Dweebs,” Whitney Kimball and Tom McKay, Gizmodo

“The Pro-Trump Mob Was Doing It For The ’Gram,” Elamin Abdelmahmoud, BuzzFeed News

“The Instagram Insurrection,” Brian Kahn, Gizmodo

“More Capitol rioters in viral posts arrested, senator urges social media providers to keep data,” Rich McKay, Reuters

“The Capitol rioters put themselves all over social media. Now they’re getting arrested.” Sara Morrison, Vox

“Local Police Departments Investigate Whether Their Officers Took Part in Capitol Riot,” Andrea Noble, Route Fifty

“Off-duty police, firefighters under investigation in connection with U.S. Capitol riot,” Maria Caspan, Reuters

“At least 25 domestic terrorism cases opened as result of assault on Capitol: lawmaker,” Andrea Shalal and David Shepardson, Reuters

Updates:

“Anne Arundel police officer suspended while department investigates possible involvement in Capitol insurrection,” Lilly Price, Capital Gazette

“US Capitol Building Riot: Justice Dept. Pursues at Least 150 Suspects,” Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, New York Times

“Who were they? Records reveal Trump fans who stormed Capitol,” Michael Biesecker,
Michael Kunzelman, Gillian Flaccus, and Jim Mustian, Associated Press

“Archivists Are Mining Parler Metadata to Pinpoint Crimes at the Capitol,” Jason Koebler and Joseph Cox, Motherboard

“MAGA Civil War shirts, a Camp Auschwitz hoodie, and other extremist merchandise was on full display at the Capitol riot,” Hilary George-Parkin, Vox

“‘Trump said I could’: One possible legal defense for accused rioters,” Teri Kanefield and Mark Reichel, Washington Post

“Capitol Riot Suspect Arrested in DC Airport After Bizarre Series of Events,” Andrew Beaujon, Washingtonian

“This Site Published Every Face From Parler’s Capitol Riot Videos,” Wired

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

The Trump Coup: It’s Coming From Inside the House! And Senate.

January 8, 2021

The Trump Coup: It's Coming From Inside the House! And Senate.

Clearly, the chief instigator of the rioting mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol was one Donald John Trump, who summoned the mob with a December 20th tweet (“Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”) and gave them their marching orders on the day of the insurrection, inciting the riot.

 It’s Coming From Inside the House! And Senate.

Terrorist Trump had allies, and some of them were already inside the Capitol, blocking the purely ceremonial recognition of the presidential election results, a rite required by the Constitution, which usually takes two hours. The falsehood-spewing, Trump-abetting obstructionists seeking to overturn the will of the electorate, all Republican members of the Senate and House, helped incite the MAGA mobs. Their names can be found here. Chief among them were Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who used their unconstitutional, unconscionable ploy to send out fundraising emails at the very time mobs were vandalizing the Capitol building.

While some of these congressional coup plotters have already faced loss of political donors and publishing contracts, Congress itself needs to act. Tepid measures like censure seem inadequate; perhaps expulsion under Article I, Section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution, expulsion from the Senate and House, should be invoked, since precedents have concerned disloyalty to the United States and its Constitution.

But of course, of these 147 insurrectionists, all but two (Byron Donalds and Burgess Owens) are White, so they may escape any punishment whatsoever, just like all but a handful of the Capitol-desecrating MAGA mob and its Instigator-in Chief.

More:

“Never Forget the Names of These Republicans Attempting a Coup,” Tom Friedman, New York Times

“The Disgrace on Capitol Hill,” Wall Street Journal

“The Republicans Have an Insurrectionist Caucus,” Jordan Weissmann, Slate

“Here Are The Republicans Who Objected To The Electoral College Count : Insurrection At The Capitol,” Barbara Sprunt, NPR News

“The long list of Republicans who voted to reject election results,” Alvin Chang, The Guardian

Updates:

“Some GOPers Blame Colleagues’ Anti-Democracy Scheme For Fueling Capitol Riots,” Summer Concepcion, Talking Points Memo

“Lawmakers who voted against Biden are denounced back home,” Jeffrey Collin, Associated Press

“Letters signed by House Republicans objecting to election results,” Jesse Byrnes, The Hill

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Trump Turns MAGA Mobs Loose on Congress; Shots Fired

January 6, 2021

Trump Turns MAGA Mobs Loose on Congress; Shots Fired

Lame Duck President Donald Trump addressed his followers on the Ellipse this afternoon. “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you,” he said. They walked, but he didn’t, probably because of his bone spurs. He continued:

“We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”

“We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

They marched, but not peacefully, and certainly not patriotically. They resisted Capitol Police, broke into the U.S. Capitol Building, even disrupting the congressional coup plotters working on Trump’s behalf, looting and vandalizing the House and Senate chambers and offices. Tear gas was deployed in the Capitol Rotunda, and at least one rioter has been shot.

The National Guard has been activated, and the DC mayor has declared a 6PM curfew. As of 4PM the President, clearly the instigator of this historic national disgrace, has not called off his MAGA dogs.

On Tuesday, Washingtonian‘s Andrew Beaujon noted that some Trump worshippers had been plotting a Capitol break-in online, but none of us really expected it to happen. We should have.

Updates:

“Trump Justifies Violence at Capitol: These ‘Things’ Happen When No One Recognizes My ‘Sacred Landslide,’” Blake Montgomery, Daily Beast

“Capitol has seen violence over 220 years, but not like this,” Jerry Schwartz, Associated Press

“Every Trump Loyalist Is Complicit in the President’s Incitement of Sedition,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Twitter locks Trump out over election fraud tweets amid Capitol siege,” Ina Fried, Axios

“Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr. Are in Furious Damage Control Mode Following Capitol Hill Siege,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

“Democrats, Republicans blame Trump for inciting ‘coup’ as mob storms Capitol,” Colby Itkowitz and Paulina Firozi, Washington Post

Solicitation to commit a crime of violence – 18 U.S. Code § 373

“Republican AGs group sent robocalls urging protesters to the Capitol. GOP officials now insist they didn’t know about it.” Andrea Salcedo, Washington Post

“Guns, Brass Knuckles, Homemade Napalm: Read Some of the Documents From Arrests After the Capitol Riot,” Andrew Beaujon, Washingtonian

“‘Trump said I could’: One possible legal defense for accused rioters,” Teri Kanefield and Mark Reichel, Washington Post

“US Capitol Building Riot: Justice Dept. Pursues at Least 150 Suspects,” Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, New York Times

“Who were they? Records reveal Trump fans who stormed Capitol,” Michael Biesecker,
Michael Kunzelman, Gillian Flaccus, and Jim Mustian, Associated Press

“‘Trump said I could’: One possible legal defense for accused rioters,” Teri Kanefield and Mark Reichel, Washington Post

“MAGA Civil War shirts, a Camp Auschwitz hoodie, and other extremist merchandise was on full display at the Capitol riot,” Hilary George-Parkin, Vox

“QAnon reshaped Trump’s party and radicalized believers. The Capitol siege may just be the start.” Drew Harwell, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Razzan Nakhlawi, and Craig Timberg, Washington Post

“Using A Pseudonym, This QAnon Believer Raised $40,000 To Send People To The DC Riot,” Craig Silverman and Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News

“‘I Answered the Call of My President’: Rioters Say Trump Urged Them On,” Alan Feuer and Nicole Hong, New York Times

“Texas woman who stormed Capitol says she was following Trump’s orders,” Lauren Aratani and Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“Alabama Man Charged in Capitol Riot Said He Was Following Instructions From Alex Jones: Affidavit,” Arya Hodjat, Daily Beast

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Trump to Georgia Official: Steal Me an Election

January 4, 2021

Trump to Georgia Official: Steal Me an Election

Mere days before he’s evicted from the Executive Mansion, lame-duck President Donald Trump can’t resist another chance to break the law, trying to turn the land of his birth into a banana republic. In an hour-long phone call, aided by Mark Meadows and other co-conspirators, he tried to wheedle, cajole, pressure, and threaten Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, into “finding” him 11,780 votes and overturning his defeat in the state’s November’s election, even though Georgia’s returns have been reviewed three times and certified by the state’s electors.

But even if Mr. Trump got Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, Joe Biden would still have won the U.S. presidential election by 40 electoral votes, so you’ve got to wonder: in what other states has Donald Trump been illegally leaning on election officials?

Mr. Trump has threatened to sue Brad Raffensperger for making recordings of the phone call public, but his recording of the conversation is legal under Georgia State Law.

Here are some of the Trump-Raffensperger phone call low-lights:

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Trump Urges Election Fraud

September 4, 2020

Trump Urges Election Fraud

On Wednesday President Trump urged North Carolina voters to mail in a ballot and then go to the polls on Election Day and vote in person:

Voting twice in a general election is a felony, a federal crime under 52 USC §10307(e). This statute also seems to forbid suborning voter fraud, although White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denies the president said what he said.

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.